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The Women’s NCAA Tournament Deserves Better

Steph Chambers
SPOKANE, WASHINGTON – MARCH 23: The Utah Utes bench celebrates a basket against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament at McCarthey Athletic Center on March 23, 2024 in Spokane, Washington. (TNS: Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

At 3:00 ET on March 31, two head coaches gathered with referees at center court. Their teams were set to face each other in 30 short minutes to play for a spot in the final four of the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament—known more broadly as March Madness. Before any of this could happen though, an issue had to be resolved. Vic Shaefer and Wes Moore, head coaches of Texas and NC State, respectively, had been clued into a discrepancy in the distance of the three-point lines with the NCAA later revealing one to be roughly nine inches short of the correct distance at its apex. Although the coaches decided to play on this was an inexcusable error. Stanford head coach and the all-time winningest coach in college basketball Tara VanDerveer called the error “ inexcusable and unfair to every team that played on it.”

This is an amateur mistake; one that the women’s tournament should not be subjected to. This year has recorded the highest viewership by a long shot and yet their athletes and coaches are still playing through blatant racism, sexism, and just all-around errors like marking standardized lines wrong.

Earlier in the tournament the Utah women’s basketball team was forced to move hotels after their team was subjected to vulgar racially disparaging comments and slurs. The team had been staying in a hotel in the town of Coeur d’Alene roughly 30 minutes outside of Spokane where their regional was being played due to a lack of space closer to the event. The team eventually moved to a hotel in Spokane but were left “deeply troubled and shaken,” CNN reports.

“We had several instances of racial hate crimes towards our program,” said Lynne Roberts, Utah’s head coach. “It’s incredibly upsetting for all of us. It’s shocking.”

This was not an error. This was an intentional, racially charged hate crime that has no place in sports of any kind. The school said a police report had been filed and an investigation is ongoing. The Utes won their first-round matchup but went on to lose to host Gonzaga in the second round.

Finally, two days after Caitlin Clark dropped 41 points in an elite eight matchup against LSU, she was answering questions during a final four press conference but could barely be heard over the hustling and bustling of the literal loading dock she was forced to give her press conference on.

When Adam Jacob, a journalist for Go Iowa Awesome asked an NCAA site representative why they thought an active loading dock would be the appropriate place for the press conference of one of the most influential players in the game they gave what critics are widely calling a “snarky” response.

“There was no perfect solution to the breakout area but you should know that you are in the minority with your complaints,” an unidentified NCAA site representative told Jacobi. “Caitlin Clark provided media access for almost an hour today and if you couldn’t get what you needed from her in one of her four media sessions, that’s on you.”

Through all of the blemishes of the tournament, it still ended up being one of the most exciting editions of March Madness we have seen in years—men’s or women’s. In the end, the South Carolina Gamecocks completed just the 10th-ever perfect season in Division One women’s basketball, beating Caitlin Clark and Iowa 87-75 in the National Championship game.

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About the Contributor
Kyrie Garwood
Kyrie Garwood, Journalist
Kyrie is a junior at Community and is in her first semester on staff. When she's not at CHS you can probably find her at Pioneer where she dives, plays basketball, and plays softball. On the rare occasion, she's not at Pioneer she enjoys going to the movies with friends, playing Euchre, and working as a lifeguard at Vet's Pool. Kyrie is eager to write and share important stories about those in our community.

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    Ronald JohnsonApr 18, 2024 at 7:38 pm

    Every year it’s something the Women don’t have. Limited workout equipment for the tournament, incorrect three point lines, and what will it be for next season. The amount of money the NCAA makes off of these athletes, the Women’s and the Men’s tournament experience should be equal in every aspect. So why are the Women getting slighted and their TV ratings have gone up for the last five years.